وعَزّى عليه السلام قوماً عن ميّتٍ فقال: إِنَّ هذَا الاْمْرَلَيْسَ بِكُمْ بَدَأَ، وَلاَ إِلَيْكُمُ انْتَهَى، وَقَدْ كَانَ صَاحِبُكُمْ هذَا يُسَافِرُ، فَعُدُّوهُ فِي بَعْضِ أَسْفَارِهِ، فَإِنْ قَدِمَ عَلَيْكُمْ وَإِلاَّ قَدِمْتُمْ عَلَيْه۔
Condoling with people among whom one had died, He (a.s.) said: This thing has not started with you nor does it end with you. This fellow of yours was used to journeying and therefore it is better to think him still to be journeying. Either he will rejoin you or else you will rejoin him.
— Imam Ali a.s.
(Nahj al-Balagha — Peak of Eloquence: Hadith #357)
In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful. Praise be to Allah, the Lord of all the worlds. May peace and blessings be upon our beloved Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ), his pure progeny, and his noble companions.
The provided Hadith of Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) offers profound wisdom and guidance regarding the concept of death and the continuity of life after death. Let us delve into the exegesis of this Hadith and explore its deeper meanings in the light of the Quran.
Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) begins by consoling a group of people who are grieving the loss of a loved one. He reminds them that death is not a phenomenon that is exclusive to them or limited to their time. It is a universal reality that has been occurring since the beginning of creation and will continue until the end of time. This statement highlights the transient nature of life and the inevitability of death.
To emphasize this point further, Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) draws attention to the deceased person's habit of traveling. Just as the traveler is expected to return from their journey, the Imam encourages the mourners to consider the deceased as someone who is still on a journey. This perspective helps to alleviate the sorrow and reminds them that death is not the end, but rather a transition to another realm of existence.
The Imam's words in this Hadith reflect the Quranic teachings regarding the continuity of life after death. Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ) says in Surah Al-Baqarah (2:154),
And do not say about those who are killed in the way of Allah, 'They are dead.' Rather, they are alive, but you perceive it not.
This verse affirms that the martyrs, who have sacrificed their lives in the path of Allah, are indeed alive in a different dimension, beyond our limited perception.
Furthermore, in Surah Al-Mu'minun (23:99-100), Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ) states,
Until, when death comes to one of them, he says, 'My Lord, send me back that I might do righteousness in that which I left behind.' No! It is only a word he is saying; and behind them is a barrier until the Day they are resurrected.
This verse highlights the desire of the deceased to return to the worldly life and rectify their actions. However, it also emphasizes that once death has occurred, there is no return until the Day of Resurrection.
Imam Ali's (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) advice in this Hadith encourages us to adopt a broader perspective on death. It reminds us that death is not the end of our existence but a transition to another realm. It urges us to focus on the eternal consequences of our actions and to strive for righteousness in this temporary life.
Reflecting on this Hadith, we are reminded of the impermanence of this world and the importance of preparing for the journey that awaits us after death. It motivates us to engage in acts of worship, seek knowledge, and strive for moral excellence. By doing so, we can ensure that we are ready to meet our Lord when the time comes.
In conclusion, the Hadith of Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) provides profound insights into the concept of death and the continuity of life after death. It encourages us to view death as a transition rather than an end, reminding us of the eternal consequences of our actions. By reflecting on this wisdom and aligning our lives with the teachings of the Quran, we can prepare ourselves for the journey that awaits us beyond this temporary world. May Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ) grant us the wisdom to understand the true nature of life and death, and guide us to righteousness in this world and the hereafter.
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